Undefeated Boxing Phenom Claressa Shields Triumphs Emotionally in MMA Showdown in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

In a thrilling and emotionally charged mixed martial arts (MMA) bout held in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Claressa Shields, the undefeated boxer and two-time Olympic gold medalist, showcased her resilience and determination.

Shields, who stands at an impressive 14-0 in her boxing career, secured a hard-fought split-decision win over Kelsey DeSantis, improving her MMA record to 2-1 as a lightweight.

The victory, however, did not come without its challenges, as Shields revealed in her post-fight interview that she felt her arm was on the verge of snapping during an intense armbar attempt by her opponent.

Physical Struggles and Emotional Triumphs

In the aftermath of the victory, Shields admitted to the adversity she faced, both physically and emotionally, during the preparation for the fight.

Not only did she have to battle through a potentially fight-ending armbar, but she also grappled with a severe cramp.

The pugnacious athlete became visibly emotional when reflecting on the difficulties of transitioning from boxing to MMA.

She expressed the hardships she encountered during her training camp, revealing moments of despair where she contemplated not returning to the gym due to the immense challenges.

Despite the tears and hardships, Shields demonstrated her unwavering commitment to her craft, emphasizing the arduous journey she undertook to secure the triumph.

PFL vs. Bellator Event in Riyadh

The MMA spectacle unfolded as part of the PFL vs. Bellator event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where fans witnessed a compelling clash between Shields and DeSantis.

The event featured an electrifying main event, with Renan Ferreira securing a first-round TKO victory over Ryan Bader.

While Shields continues to evolve as an MMA fighter, her stellar boxing career positions her as a dominant force with promising opportunities in both sports.

Future Prospects and Potential Rematch

Looking ahead, Shields contemplates a potential rematch with Savannah Marshall, whom she defeated in a boxing match in 2022.

The intriguing proposition of a cross-discipline bout between the two fighters looms on the horizon.

Shields boldly asserted her dominance, stating, “Savannah needs to understand – you can’t beat me in nothing.”

The prospect of a duel in both boxing and MMA adds an enticing layer to the narrative, showcasing Shields’ confidence and eagerness to prove her supremacy in any combat sport.

Championing Equality and Critiquing Boxing

Beyond her in-ring exploits, Shields has been an outspoken advocate for gender equality in combat sports. She has criticized boxing, labeling it as sexist and highlighting the stark contrast in pay between male and female fighters.

Shields, who has achieved remarkable success in boxing, pointed to the substantial purses offered to women in MMA, citing Kayla Harrison’s opportunity to compete for a million-dollar prize in MMA before a similar opportunity presented itself in boxing.

Her vocal stance on equality adds a compelling dimension to her journey, transcending the boundaries of sport.

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